The University of Texas-Pan American remains one of the most affordable academic institutions in The University of Texas System in spite of the increase in tuition and fees approved by the UT System Board of Regents Wednesday, March 26.
"UTPA tuition and fees are well below the state and national averages for academic institutions, allowing UTPA to remain an excellent value in the UT System and Texas," UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas said.
The Board of Regents formally approved an increase in tuition and fees for the next two academic years (2008-2009 and 2009-2010) for the UT System's campuses. The action came following a review of tuition and fee proposals submitted to the Regents by each campus earlier this month.
"We believe these modest increases in tuition and fee rates will go a long way toward furthering excellence at our campuses," said Regents' Chairman H. Scott Caven, Jr. "The Board remains committed to ensuring an affordable and quality education for our students, but at the same time we must continue to enhance our operations and programs to keep our institutions competitive in the higher education arena and ever-changing global environment."
With the approval, UTPA's tuition and fees for 15 semester credit hours will increase 6.09 percent in fall 2008 for a cost of $2,612, making it one of the most budget-friendly institutions in the UT System. In fall 2009, the tuition and fees are expected to rise 5.74 percent for a cost of $2,762 a semester. In fall 2007, tuition and fees for a full-time student were $2,462.
In December 2007, the UT System Board of Regents limited tuition and fee increases per semester in each year of the tuition and fee plan to a maximum of 4.95 percent, or $300 a year, whichever is greater. A minimum of 20 percent of these increases will be used for student financial aid. Some UT System institutions were allowed to exceed the cap to accommodate student-initiated fees that had already been approved by students when the regents issued their directive. UTPA along with several other UT institutions met the allowable increase.
Elaine Rivera, director of the UTPA Office of Student Financial Services, said financial aid will be available to alleviate the impact of tuition and fee increases on students. More than 12,000 students receive financial aid at UTPA she said.
"Fortunately, UTPA has many financial aid programs to assist our students. In addition to the various state and federal grant programs, UTPA is proud to offer the UTPAdvantage to help defray costs for our neediest of students. Under the UTPAdvantage Program, students who meet the criteria will pay zero out-of-pocket expenses for tuition and fees," Rivera said.
The UTPAdvantage is a "free tuition and fees" guarantee for economically disadvantaged students. Qualified students will have all tuition and fees for fall and spring semesters covered by some form of grant or scholarship. For 2009, the annual income limit to qualify will be increased from $25,000 to $30,000, and the deadline to apply is Tuesday, April 1.
During the 2007 fiscal year, UTPA awarded more than $102 million in financial aid funds, with approximately 60 percent in the form of scholarships and grants.
In addition to UTPAdvantage, the University currently caps the charges for designated tuition at 14 semester credit hours, which means students enrolling in course loads of 15 or more hours are charged for designated tuition as if they were enrolled for 14 hours. The intention of this policy is to encourage students to take larger course loads, and in turn, promote timely graduation.
Since the 14-hour cap was put in place in 2004, the percentage of undergraduates attempting course loads over 14 hours has increased from 23.5 percent in fall 2004 to 29.6 percent in fall 2007.
A 22-member Cost of Education Committee, made up of students, administrators, faculty and a parent, developed the UTPA tuition and fee proposal submitted to the Board of Regents. The committee was charged with reviewing all fee requests submitted by the University departments and made recommendations to the president.
To learn more about financial aid opportunities at UTPA, visit http://portal.utpa.edu/utpa_main/dess_home/sfs_home or call 956/381-2501.
For more information on UTPA's and other UT System campus approved proposals visit http://www.utsystem.edu/affordability/.